Tag Archives: sewing

Shamans and Fairies, Oh My! (an update on our Scarborough Costumes)

2 Apr

So, we picked up our tickets for Scarborough Ren Fest last weekend, and we’re planning on making it to opening day (for the first time!) this weekend. I’ve been working hard on finishing our costumes, and, fortunately, my mom agreed to make Tom’s peasant pants, so I could concentrate on the other stuff.

Now, they’re not your typical renaissance festival costumes, exactly. Tom is going as a shaman/green man combo, and I’m going as a dragon fairy. There are nods to renaissance attire, but they’re in no way meant to be historically accurate.

I finished Tom’s “breastplate” (for lack of a better word.) It went from this:

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… to this:

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I embroidered Nordic designs onto a pleather-y fabric (it’s felted on the back, which I hope will be comfortable for him to wear all day.) There are runic compasses, symbols for guiding you to a specific outcome or trait, and a border design I found online. I’ve hand sewn on faux fur trim, and leather fringe and trim, and added moss and acrylic paint for a lived-in look.

I also made antlers/horns from Sculpey clay to add to his headdress. I painted the antlers with various colors of acrylic paint, and sealed with Mod Podge. Then, I attached them to their own cord to be worn underneath the band of the headdress, which I cut holes into for the antlers to “grow” out of.

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I tried out some makeup looks for my dragon fairy costume yesterday:

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I plan on dyeing my hair purple before Saturday, hence the purple eyebrows. I still need some practice with using fishnets to produce a “scale” effect on my skin, but I like the way the colors coordinate with the headdress.

To view more photos of our costume pieces, go to this post. You’ll find more of my fairy costume, and some other in progress and inspiration pics!

Gentle hugs,

Chelsea

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My (Very Real) Craft Corner

30 Jan

I’ve been on an organization and cleaning kick for the past couple of months, cleaning out our closet for donations, our shelves for books and movies to sell, our kitchen, because it’s bare and needs some sprucing up, and most recently my little craft corner.

I tend to do my work on the couch where it’s comfy, but sometimes I need table space, and don’t want to clear off our dining table. So, I brought in a little folding table we had (and rarely used) in the laundry room downstairs, and put it by my sewing table. I removed the wire shelving I had behind our couch, where I stored all of my craft supplies, and moved the supplies into our corner cabinet, and made a curtain to hide them. Now, I have a nice little nook where I can work and take pictures for the Etsy shops.

It's no Martha Stewart Living feature, but it's practical!

It’s no Martha Stewart Living feature, but it’s practical!

Everything tucks (sort of) neatly behind the couch.

Everything tucks (sort of) neatly behind the couch.

That corner cabinet is packed with labeled plastic shoe boxes and bead organizers. I had to do some serious downsizing to make sure everything would fit, and it came out just right! Now I just can’t buy any supplies for a while …

All of my frequently used supplies are at hand in a few cute containers on the table. The cute crocheted own (made by my talented mother in law!) is filled with embroidery thread, the blue container holds current projects and items that need to be photographed, and the green container holds scissors, drawing and writing supplies, and other small items like a tape measure and pins.

In case you’re wondering, all those containers that look like they’re going to topple over underneath the table are filled with sewing supplies: fabric on bottom, patterns in the middle, and thread and other supplies on top. Next to the stack are embroidery supplies.

I even made a dust cover for my machine from a couple of dollar store place mats and some ribbon. Here’s a similar tutorial using a tea towel. The rolling drawers are filled with supplies we use when we do arts and crafts shows: packaging on top, business cards, labels and tags in the middle, and general supplies on bottom. My sketch and note books, and my inspiration binder are all on top, waiting to be grabbed.

That pretty, funky lamp above the sewing machine is a Loomi Light. It’s made from cardstock pieces that you can alter and assemble yourself; I painted mine with watercolors. You can find the kit here.

So, that’s it! It’s not particularly pretty, but it’s a colorful, functional, organized space with a ton of natural light that inspires me to work. That’s really all I need.

Gentle hugs,

Chels

A magical, happy new year!

14 Jan

Happy new year, everyone!

I know that for most of you with chronic pain, this is a hard time of year. Whether you live in a place where it’s very cold, or in a place like Texas, where it can’t decide if it’s warm or freezing, the weather is probably wreaking havoc on your body, and I’m sorry. It’s tough. I have very little energy right now, accompanied by lots of aches and pains, as well as some digestive issues, but I’m keeping my eyes on spring. (Granted, the rain won’t be much better, but the warmth – oh, the warmth!) So, as usual, I’m trying to stay occupied.

I decided a long time ago that if I was going to make resolutions, I had to be serious about them. You know how it goes – good intentions, road to hell … Anyway, this year, I decided to make some goals for myself along with those general resolutions, because sometimes calling something by another name gives it new life. Also, goals have a deadline, and resolutions tend to have a general “I have a whole year to get this done, so why start right this second” kind of attitude.

My goals for 2013:

*Being active regularly instead of sporadically: find a fitness class by the end of January. (I’ve already accomplished this one! Starting Hula Hooping classes Jan. 19.)

*Better mental health through those things and COUNSELING. Find a counselor before the end of March.

*Intellectual and creative growth – taking classes, watching more documentaries, reading more, and branching out musically. We’ve already kicked off the new year with quite a few documentaries. One of my best friends even asked me to make her a list, which I think I’ll blog at a later date. The goal here is really to not be hyper-concerned about cost. I’ve passed up so many great learning opportunities because I felt guilty about the money.

*Downsizing our “stuff” and selling, donating, or freecycling. Be done with this before the end of April. This is something I do multiple times a year, but since we’ll be moving in May, I have to give myself a deadline for this one.

*Save each month for our new “holiday” account, so that money isn’t as tight at the end of this year/beginning of next year. Also, I’d really like to make gifts throughout the year to cut down on costs.

So, that’s it, along with the general continue to live cleaner resolution I made a couple of years ago, and have continued to take baby steps with since. Let me tell you, I am a sweet-a-holic, and it’s not easy to make it through the holidays without overindulging in desserts. Our blender broke last week, so I took it as a sign to get a better blender, which will hopefully encourage me to make healthy smoothies more often.

Along with my goals, I’ve been brainstorming and creating costumes for this year. If you’re totally confused – “Halloween is so far away!” – my hubby and I like to dress up for the events we enjoy attending. Scarborough Faire, our local Renaissance festival, is in the spring, so I’ve already started making my costume – a dragon fairy. Honestly, I thought my google search for “dragon costume” would gain more results, but apparently there aren’t that many DIY dragon costumes out there. So, I’m using my imagination to come up with my character. Here’s what I have so far:

You know the creepy dinosaur from "Jurassic Park" that spits black goo? Ok, forget the black goo. Remember the frills on the side of his neck? Ok, these fit over my ears, and give the illusion of frills.

You know the creepy dinosaur from “Jurassic Park” that spits black goo? Ok, forget the black goo. Remember the frills on the side of his neck? Ok, these fit over my ears, and give the illusion of frills.

My version of a rag skirt, with silk, taffeta, tulle, lace, and other fabrics. It has a bit of a bustle in the back to allude to a "tail."

My version of a rag skirt, with silk, taffeta, tulle, lace, and other fabrics. It has a bit of a bustle in the back to allude to a “tail.”

The frame for my dragon-like wings. I'll use the same fabrics I used on the "frills."

The frame for my dragon-like wings. I’ll use the same fabrics I used on the “frills.”

I can’t wait to work on my horns, ears, and talons! I’ll also be making my first attempt at a corset … stay tuned. There’s something so gratifying about making costumes from scratch. It’s also nice to know that I have plenty of time to finish, and don’t have to rush around at the last minute like a crazy person.

What are your resolutions, goals, and projects for the new year? Whatever they are, I wish you success!

Gentle hugs,
Chels

DIY Tutorial: Easy Window Treatment

24 Jul

As promised, I’m breaking down the list of DIY projects I’ve done recently around the apartment. Today’s tutorial may seem a little overwhelming, but I promise it’s just a matter of symmetry and a little creative thinking. This is one of the “mock” window valances I made:

Big windows, huh? I call them mock valances, because they’re not your typical 3D box type. They’re just a single piece of fabric, because, well, that’s a heck of a lot easier and our windows are ginormous.

Now, I know what you’re thinking if you have big windows like these: “Are you kidding me? The fabric’s going to cost a fortune!” Well, my friend, now it’s time to divulge my little secret. Ready? The fabric I used was not only from a thrift store, but in it’s past life it was … a bed sheet. This is where the creative thinking comes in. Take a look at places other than fabric or craft stores, like a discount home goods store, a thrift store, or an estate sale. First of all, you may find ready-made valances, and that will save you the trouble of making them. Second, you may find some really awesome fabric in the form of bed sheets, tablecloths, or even full-length curtains. Then, it goes a little something like this:

What you need:

curtain rod

Fabric measuring (at least) the length of your curtain rod

scissors

chalk/pen

measuring tape or yardstick

fray check/fabric glue/tacky glue

fabric pins

sewing machine (optional)

minimal drawing skills

minimal sewing skills (optional)

Step 1.

If you’re making a custom curtain rod, like so many people do now from metal conduit, measure the length of your window, plus any length you want the curtain rod to extend past the edges.  Fortunately, the previous tenants left the curtain rods (along with some very scary window treatment,) for me to use. If you already have rods, lucky you, just measure the length. Don’t worry about  allowing for seams, because there won’t be any – yay!

Step 2.

Cut your fabric to the length of the rod, then fold in half, lengthwise, so that the back of the fabric is facing out. This is so that the lines you draw won’t show, and the design you choose will be even and symmetrical.

Step 3.

Decide what type of design you want on the bottom edge of your fabric. I chose the shape of a curly bracket or brace.

Draw half of the design in chalk, or pen if you’re that confident in your drawing skills, right onto the fabric.

Step 4:

Leaving the fabric folded, cut along the line you drew.

Step 5:

Unfold the fabric, and use your fray check (fabric glue and tacky glue work just as well) along the raw edge you just cut. (If the top of your fabric also has a raw edge, use glue on all edges of the fabric. I used my finger by putting a bit of glue on the tip and dabbing it onto the edges of the fabric. You shouldn’t have to worry about it sticking to the surface you’re working on, but just in case you can use a cheap drop cloth. You can also wait until you have the valance hung on the rod. I did this, and though it was a little tiring, it worked just as well.

Step 6:

Turn your fabric over so that the back is showing again. On one edge, fold your fabric so that it measures about 1 1/2 inches and pin it. Continue to measure at intervals all along the fold to keep it straight, and keep pinning it down.

Step 7:

Sew a straight line along the pins to create a loop to fit the rod through.

Note: If you don’t have a sewing machine, use fabric glue to glue your fabric to itself, rather than sewing a seam. You can use the pins to secure the fabric while the glue dries, or put some heavy books on top to weigh the fabric down.

Step 8: 

Push the curtain rod through the loop and hang!

Gentle hugs,

Chels